Tag: comfort food

Turkey Soup

Turkey Soup

Turkey soup is much heartier than chicken soup. It has a stronger, bolder, deeper flavor.

The thing I like about making broth is that it’s economical. You eat a turkey one day (or maybe several) and then when there’s not much meat left, you use the carcass to make delicious soup, which can be another meal on its own or an appetizer.

 

Turkey carcass in a soup pot
It may not look pretty, but boiling a turkey carcass will make your kitchen smell great.

 

Turkey and chicken soup is also pretty easy to make once you know a couple of tricks. Here’s a brief summary of those tricks that we’ll review later (see bolded instructions below):

  1. Refrigerate the broth overnight so that the fat congeals and is easy to skim off.
  2. Throw away the vegetables you used to make the broth. Boil new ones in a separate pot of water to add to the soup when it’s done.
  3. Make servings of soup as you need them. You can make a big pot of soup with all of the noodles, pasta, or rice that you plan on using but I find it easier to make it as I need it over a few days.

The first thing you do is throw the carcass in a large soup pot and fill it with water. You add a few vegetables and some salt and pepper to help flavor it, and that’s it. You bring it all to a boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for an hour or more, with the lid askew on top.

Turn off the heat, and let the soup cool awhile before straining it through a strainer into a clean pot. Then put the soup into the refrigerator and leave it overnight. The next day, the fat has congealed and is floating on top where it’s easy to remove with a tablespoon.

Next, figure out what you want to add to the soup and the trick here is to boil those items separately in a small pot of water. Do not boil these items in the soup itself or you risk having all the flavors of the soup turn to steam and burn off.

 

Pasta, carrots, and celery
Discard the vegetables you cooked the soup in and then boil some fresh ones in a separate small pot of water.

 

I usually use some chopped carrots, celery, and some type of pasta: pasta noodles; or tortellini; or even tiny pastina work well. Depending on how large your turkey carcass is, you’re sure to enjoy this soup for several days. And why not, it tastes great and has plenty of nutritional value: I’m guessing it’s even more powerful than chicken soup.

 

Turkey soup in a bowl
Trim off some of the meat before putting the carcass in a pot and save it. You can add it to the soup later when you’re ready to serve it.

 

Lastly, use the soup to make servings as you need them. For instance, the first night you may only need to make four servings. So measure out enough of the soup for four servings and put it into a pot.

As you heat the soup up slowly being careful that it doesn’t boil, take another pot of water and bring that to a boil. Add your noodles or pasta to that pot (or make rice if that’s what you’re using) and cook until al dente. Remove the pasta or noodles from the boiling water and add them to the hot soup. Also add the reserved pieces of turkey.

Next cut up enough carrots and celery for four servings (use your judgement) and boil them in that separate pot. When done, add them to the soup.

Serve the soup with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional, but I wouldn’t make soup without it).

(Thanks for reading this far. To show our appreciation we’re offering this free eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy the Holidays,”  along with free subscription to the Rootsliving newsletter.)

 

Turkey Soup

November 20, 2018
: Easy

Once you know a couple of tricks, turkey soup is easy to make.

By:

Ingredients
  • To Make the Broth:
  • Turkey carcass, take most of the meat off before boiling
  • Carrots, 1 or 2 broken in 2 or 3 pieces
  • Celery stalks, 1 or two broken in a few pieces
  • Onion, medium, quartered
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs (optional), such as parsley, sage and/or lovage.
  • To Make Soup Servings:
  • Carrot, 1 or 2 cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Celery, 1 or 2 stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Pasta or cooked rice or noodles. You can use macaroni noodles, tortellini, or even pastina.
  • Turkey pieces
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (optional)
Directions
  • Step 1 Strip carcass of any good meat that is left and then put it in a large soup pot. Put good turkey meat aside.
  • Step 2 Fill the pot with cold water until it covers the carcass.
  • Step 3 Add carrots, onion, celery, salt, pepper and herbs (optional).
  • Step 4 Bring pot to a boil and then reduce heat and let it simmer for at least an hour.
  • Step 5 Take pot away from heat and let the broth cool for awhile until it’s safe to strain.
  • Step 6 Strain soup into a clean pot. Discard the vegetables and the carcass. Put the soup into the refrigerator overnight.
  • Step 7 The next day, the fat will congeal and will be floating ontop. Take a tablespoon and carefully skim the fat off the top and discard it.
  • Step 8 Heat up the broth, but don’t let it boil.
  • Step 9 In a separate smaller pot filled with water boil pasta, noodles or rice. When it’s tender or al dente, add it to the soup.
  • Step 10 Next, boil the carrot and celery pieces until tender. Add them to the soup. Also add the reserved turkey pieces to the soup.
  • Step 11 Serve soup hot with a side of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional).

 

The Secret to Getting Everything to the Table Piping Hot

The Secret to Getting Everything to the Table Piping Hot

One of the biggest challenges to hosting Thanksgiving dinner is getting all of the side dishes to the table piping hot (or at least not cold).

So what’s the secret? PREPARATION!!

And how do you that? By making lists. I’m a big believer in writing a list of things to do. I do this every day for daily tasks and also have a “bigger picture” list for projects I’m working on, which may take several months to accomplish.

Now Is The Time To Start Planning

With Thanksgiving only a week away, now is the time to start planning. The first thing you need to do is decide on a menu. Here are some recipes you may want to consider making, along with an overall Thanksgiving prep schedule.

 

Nan’s Mashed Potatoes are the killer side dish for Thanksgiving. If you make just one thing from this menu, make this.

 

MENU AND THANKSGIVING PREP SCHEDULE

Here’s the Rootsliving Thanksgiving Day menu:

  1. Antipasti Platter (You don’t have to make all four. Pick, choose and then assemble.)
  2. Root Soup (our signature dish)
  3. Classic, No-Fail, American Roasted Turkey
  4. Triple Cornbread Stuffing
  5. Nan’s Mashed Potatoes
  6. Green Bean Casserole (the healthier version)
  7. Cranberry Sauce (homestyle or chunky, from a can. Hey, you can’t do everything.)
  8. Quick, Easy, Nutella Cookies (If guests ask what they can bring, tell them pies.)
A tray of breadsticks, stuffed red peppers, and more
You can make any, or all four, of these appetizers on Thanksgiving Day. You just assemble the ingredients (no cooking required).

SCHEDULE:

To make your own cooking schedule, I suggest working backwards. Start at Thanksgiving Day and figure out what food has to be made on that day. In other words, what food can’t you make ahead of time?

Obviously, you wouldn’t want to make the turkey the night before because you wouldn’t be able to serve it moist and hot. Reheated turkey isn’t as good as freshly cooked.

If you plan to make the Rootsliving Thanksgiving Day menu (or a pretty good facsimile), you can follow this schedule.

You’ll notice that I start with cooking a chicken on Sunday. That’s only if you intend to make your own chicken stock for the Root Soup. Store bought is fine and if you decide to use that, then skip that part of the plan.

TODAY-SUNDAY: Decide on your menu. Make a list of ingredients. Order your fresh turkey and make time to food shop.

SUNDAY:

  • Roast a chicken (optional, only if you intend to make your own stock) and eat it for Sunday dinner.

MONDAY:

  • Make chicken stock with the leftover chicken carcass and put it in the refrigerator overnight. (optional)

TUESDAY:

  • Spoon fat off chicken stock and make Root Soup.

WEDNESDAY:

  • Make Nan’s Mashed Potatoes (but don’t sprinkle with paprika or dot the top with butter just yet. Instead put it in a baking dish and refrigerate overnight. Wait to bake it on Thursday.)
  • Mashed potatoes in baking dish.
  • Make Green Bean Casserole (but don’t sprinkle the final layer of French’s crispy fried onions on top. Instead put it in a baking dish and refrigerate overnight. Wait to bake it on Thursday.)
  • Make Quick, Easy, Nutella cookies 

THURSDAY, THANKSGIVING DAY:

Finally,  don’t forget to relax. The holidays are for remembering and celebrating what’s important in life — family and good friends. The food, spirits, and material gifts are secondary.

And if cranky aunt gladys complains that the green bean casserole isn’t warm enough, smile and pour her another glass of wine (it’s counterintuitive, but she’ll be less whiny).

(Thanks for reading this far. To show our appreciation we’re offering this free eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy the Holidays,”  along with a free subscription to the Rootsliving newsletter.)

 

 

Triple Cornbread Stuffing

Triple Cornbread Stuffing

This stuffing is not for the birds.

 

Ingredients for stuffing
The ingredients for this stuffing are pretty basic: probably things you have on hand.

 

I never recommend cooking the stuffing inside the turkey cavity. Instead, make it and cook it separately. That way, you’ll avoid problems with cooking the bird and won’t have to worry about contaminating the stuffing.

 

Bacon in a frying pan
You only need about 8-10 slices of bacon.

 

This recipe has its roots in African-American life. I found it in the “Black Family Reunion Cookbook,” one of the cookbooks I often refer to when looking to make something different and authentic.

It’s not hard to make, but it’s not as easy as one might think, especially after reading the recipe and finding out you can use canned corn and store-bought cornbread. Making stuffing is an art. After you mix it up, you have to continuously taste it and make adjustments until you get the flavor and consistency just the way you want it.

 

Celery and onions frying
You fry the celery and onions in the same pan you cooked the bacon.

 

I found the original recipe to be a little too dry, so I decreased the amount of toasted breadcrumbs and added about a quarter cup of the bacon grease. The bacon I used was pretty lean so it didn’t create too much grease.

 

Stuffing ingredients in a bowl
Make sure you use a bowl large enough to fit all of the ingredients.

 

Once you mix it up, if you still think it’s too dry, try adding some boiling water: just enough to get the moist consistency you want.

 

Stuffing being stirred in a bowl
The stuffing is ready when you say it is ready. Stir it up and taste it for moistness and flavor until it’s just right.

 

You can serve it as is or if you want to heat it up, try baking it in a 350 degree oven with a few tabs of butter on top. But be careful. I wouldn’t heat it up for more than five or ten minutes or you risk drying it out.

(Thanks for reading this far. To show our appreciation we’re offering this free eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy the Holidays,”  along with a free subscription to the Rootsliving newsletter.)

 

Triple Cornbread Stuffing

November 13, 2018
: 10-12
: Medium

Once you mix this up, continuously taste it for moistness and flavor and make adjustments until it's just right.

By:

Ingredients
  • Bacon, 1/2 pound (about 8-10 slices), reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking grease
  • Celery, chopped, 1 1/2 cups
  • Onion, chopped, 1/2 cup
  • Cornbread crumbs, 4 cups (make or buy cornbread and crumble it into coarse crumbs)
  • Toasted bread crumbs, 2 cups (you can spread regular breadcrumbs on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about five minutes, but watch it so it doesn't burn)
  • Poultry seasoning, 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, 1/2-1 teaspoon or to taste
  • Cream-style corn, one 17 oz can
  • Whole kernal corn, one 17 oz can, reserve the liquid
Directions
  • Step 1 Fry bacon in a skillet until crisp. Crumble it and set it aside. Save 1/2 cup of the drippings to cook the celery and onion in.
  • Step 2 Fry the celery and onion in the bacon grease until tender but not brown.
  • Step 3 Put the bacon in a large bowl along with the celery and onion. Add everything else: the cornbread crumbs, breadcrumbs, poultry seasoning, salt, and both cans of corn. Also add bacon drippings and some or all of the liquid that came with the whole kernel corn.
  • Step 4 Mix it up good until combined well. If the stuffing isn’t moist enough, add just enough boiling water to get the consistency you want.
  • Step 5 You can serve it as is. Or if you want to heat it up, put it in a baking dish and dot the top with small pads of butter. Bake at 350 for no more than 5 or 10 minutes. Be careful you don’t dry it out.
Classic, No-Fail, American Roasted Turkey

Classic, No-Fail, American Roasted Turkey

This recipe draws inspiration from Native American culture and the harvest celebration for maple sap.

I found it in a local newspaper about 20 years ago and have used it ever since. It’s always delivered a moist, flavorful bird.

 

turkey in a roasting pan

 

The recipe is the work of Chef David Smoke McClusky, who is part Native American. It’s really simple. You just stuff it with a few ingredients. You don’t eat this stuffing. It just adds flavor to the turkey while it cooks.

 

Ingredients to flavor the turkey
You’ll find the turkey neck wrapped in paper inside the bird. Be sure to remove that and the package of giblets before cooking.

 

I recommend cooking your favorite stuffing in a separate baking dish, rather than stuffing the bird with it. That way, you’ll avoid problems with cooking the bird and won’t have to worry about contaminating the stuffing.

 

Raw turkey in a roasting pan
After removing the neck and giblets put the neck back in the cavity of the bird, along with some onion, carrots, celery, and a sprig of fresh sage.

 

Fresh or Frozen?

I always use a fresh turkey. Those that use frozen swear there is no difference in taste and that may be true. But using a fresh turkey is a lot easier to cook. The problem with frozen turkeys is you have to figure out when to put them in the refrigerator to thaw. Frozen turkeys usually take several days to thaw out and you have to time it so that it’s ready to cook on the big day.

 

Turkey with a bowl of maple syrup
The maple syrup adds a bit of sweetness and depth to the turkey flavor but is not overpowering.

 

To make sure your turkey comes out moist, don’t overcook it.  Baste it with its own juices about every 30 minutes. If you don’t have a turkey baster, buy one. This recipe also calls for basting the turkey with maple syrup during the last 30 minutes of cooking, which is a pretty simple thing to do.

 

Sliced turkey on a plate
You can add gravy to this turkey, but you really don’t have to as the meat is never dry.

 

When it’s finished cooking, let it rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving it.

 

Turkey slices with gravy on a plate

 

Get a good sharp knife, and remove one of the legs first; then slice out a breast and slice that into thick pieces. Thin pieces will dry out on the platter faster.

 

Sliced turkey on a plate
This turkey was fork-tender (no knife required).

 

If you’re not convinced or still worried about making sure your turkey is moist, try this trick. Prepare a gravy (see recipe for Sage Gravy, below) and then pour some of it on the serving platter. Add the turkey slices and pieces on top of that and cover it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.

(Thanks for reading this far. To show our appreciation we’re offering this free eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy the Holidays,”  along with a free subscription to the Rootsliving newsletter.)

 

Classic, No-Fail, American Roasted Turkey

November 12, 2018
: Medium

This recipe from Chef David Smoke McClusky has never failed me. It's always produced a moist and flavorful turkey.

By:

Ingredients
  • Turkey, 16-20 pounds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Onion, 1 quartered
  • Carrot, 1 cut into four pieces
  • Celery, 1 rib, cut into four pieces
  • Fresh sage, 1 large sprig
  • Maple syrup, 1 cup
Directions
  • Step 1 Set oven to 350 degrees
  • Step 2 Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse the turkey, inside and out under running cold water and then pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Step 3 Season the cavity with salt and pepper and then stuff it with the neck, onion, carrot, celery and fresh sage.
  • Step 4 Put the turkey in roasting pan and cook for about 3-4 hours. Figure about 15 minutes per pound.
  • Step 5 Baste the turkey with its own juices very 30 minutes or so. During the last 30 minutes, brush on the maple syrup.
  • Step 6 When finished cooking, put it on a platter and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving it.

 

Sage Gravy For Turkey

November 12, 2018
: Medium

Warning: This recipe is a little tricky, especially if you've never made gravy before. It's worth trying and if it doesn't turn out well, don't worry. You can always serve the turkey without gravy.

By:

Ingredients
  • Hot water, 2 cups
  • Cold water, 2 cups
  • Flour, 1/2 cup
  • Chopped fresh sage, 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the roasting pan on the stove and spoon off the fat.
  • Step 2 Pour in the hot water and place the pan over two burners on the stove. Bring the water to a boil, scraping the caramelized juices on the bottom of the pan.
  • Step 3 Turn the heat to low.
  • Step 4 In a separate bowl, add the cold water to the flour a little at a time until if forms a smooth paste.
  • Step 5 Gradually whisk in this mixture into the simmering liquid until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Step 6 Add chopped sage and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper.
Espresso Shot Pulled Pork Sandwiches (in a slow cooker)

Espresso Shot Pulled Pork Sandwiches (in a slow cooker)

Get a free Rootsliving eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy
the Holidays.
” 

(Above: Corn bread and salad go well with espresso shot pulled pork sandwiches.)

For most of us the summer may be over but that doesn’t mean the end of pulled pork sandwiches.

Barbecue purists will argue that the only real pulled pork is cooked slowly over hot coals but a much easier version (especially for those of us who had to put our grills away for the season),  and one that is pretty tasty,  is made in a slow cooker.

 

Pork cooking in a slow-cooker
Make sure you buy a pork shoulder that will fit in your slow-cooker.

 

And what could be better than coming home from work on a weeknight to the smell of tender pork roasting slowly in a warm kitchen. You grab a fresh bun, slice it open, and spoon in the hot shredded meat slathered in barbecue sauce.

 

A pork shoulder on a cutting board
I rubbed salt, pepper, and a little bit of chili powder over the pork before putting it in the slow-cooker.

 

Another great thing about making pulled pork is that you can use your imagination. Once you buy the right cut of pork (which should be a pork shoulder labeled “pork butt,” “Boston butt,” or “picnic ham,” and can be either boneless or bone-in), you can make a cooking sauce out of most any ingredients you have on hand that you think will work well together. (When buying the pork figure about 3/4 of a pound per person for a bone-in pork shoulder and about 1/2 pound per person for a boneless roast.)

 

Sauce for the cooking liquid in a measuring cup
Make about 1/4 cup of cooking liquid for each pound of pork.

 

You should try to use both tart and sweet ingredients for the cooking liquid. For this recipe, I was heavy on the tart using ketchup, vinegar, mustard, and just a little bit of Portuguese hot red pepper sauce that I made a few years ago, called Pimenta Moida. (You could use tabasco sauce or your favorite hot sauce instead.) But the real secret ingredient I added and one that added a deep roasted flavor to the pork was a shot of espresso. Again, you could use something else, maybe a cold cup of coffee.

 

A one-shot espresso pot.
I purchased this one-shot espresso pot in Siena, Italy this summer.

 

The important thing is to make enough liquid for the pork to slow-cook in, which should be about 1/4 cup for each pound of pork. I made a cup of cooking liquid for a 4 pound boneless pork butt. By the time the pork had finished cooking, the liquid more than doubled. I cooked it on low for about four hours before turning it up to high for the last one and a half hours. But you could cook it for six to eight hours on low and I’m sure it would be fine. Larger pork roasts might take as long as 10 hours to cook.

 

Overhead view of espresso pot
The secret ingredient is a strong cup of espresso.

 

Be sure to leave some time for the pork shoulder to cool a little before you shred it, either with two forks or with your hands (careful you don’t burn yourself). While the pork is cooling you can take the cooking liquid and put it on the stove to make a sauce to spoon over the meat on each sandwich. This is a good way to make sure you serve the sandwiches hot too.

 

Shredded pork on a cookie sheet.
I used a cookie sheet to shred the pork once it cooled down a bit.

 

Lastly, be sure you buy some good plain rolls.  Bulkie rolls work well. You don’t want any strong flavors in the rolls to compete with the flavors of the pork you slowly curated. I’d avoid brioche rolls as I think they’re overly sweet (and over done today at most restaurants).

 

Pulled pork sandwich with corn bread and salad
A perfect weeknight meal or one to enjoy while watching the big game.

 

A green salad makes a good side dish to help offset this fatty, heavy, but delicious dish. And a serving of corn bread keeps the whole experience old-school Americana.

 

(Thanks for reading this far. To show our appreciation we’re offering this free eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy the Holidays,”  along with free subscription to the Rootsliving newsletter.)

Espresso Shot Pulled Pork Sandwiches

November 3, 2018
: 8
: 20 min
: 6 hr
: 6 hr 30 min
: Easy

You can use your imagination and ingredients you have on hand to make this dish.

By:

Ingredients
  • Pork butt, 4 pound, boneless
  • Kosher salt, pepper, chili powder, pinches of each to rub on the pork
  • Sweet onion, one half of a medium sized onion
  • Garlic, two cloves smashed or split in half
  • Cinnamon stick, one
  • Barbecue sauce, a few squirts
  • Ketchup, a few squirts
  • For the cooking liquid:
  • Ketchup, 1/2 cup
  • Balsamic vinegar, 1/8th cup
  • Espresso, one shot (about 1/4 cup)
  • Dijon Mustard, 1 tsp.
  • Portuguese hot pepper sauce, 1 tsp (or a few squirts of tabasco or another hot sauce)
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the cooking liquid: Mix all of the cooking liquid ingredients in a measuring cup or small bowl.
  • Step 2 Rub salt, pepper and chili powder all over the pork butt. Put pork butt in the slow cooker.
  • Step 3 Pour cooking liquid into the slow-cooker. Add the onion, garlic and cinnamon stick.
  • Step 4 Cook on low for about four hours, then on high for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Once done, put pork on a cookie sheet to cool.
  • Step 5 Pour cooking liquid from slow-cooker through a sieve. Discard solid materials and try to spoon off as much fat as you can off the top. Cook juice in a shallow pan over medium heat until reduced in half. Squirt some barbecue sauce and a little ketchup into the pan and stir until hot.
  • Step 6 Shred pork with two forks or your hands if it is cooled enough. Be careful not to burn yourself. Pour some of the sauce over the shredded pork.
  • Step 7 Build your sandwich by putting shredded pork on a roll and then spooning some of the hot sauce over the pork to warm up the pork. You can add cheese to your sandwich and serve with a salad and corn bread.
Green Bean Casserole, 2 Recipes

Green Bean Casserole, 2 Recipes

I’m so glad you found me.

I’ve been expecting you and prepared this dish to lure you here. It’s no accident as  “Green Bean Casserole,” is one of the most searched recipes on the internet in the few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

 

Green bean casserole in a serving dish
The dish is topped with more crispy fried onions before being placed in the oven.

 

Maybe you have fond memories of your mother’s green bean casserole, or maybe someone asked you to make it and bring it to this year’s Thanksgiving Day feast. Well, I have good news. It’s easy to make, whether you choose to make the original recipe from canned ingredients or whether you choose to make it a little healthier with mostly, non-processed food. And I’ve got you covered. You can find both recipes below.

 

Green bean casserole on a white plate
This healthier version of the classic dish uses frozen green beans instead of canned. They’re better as they’re flash-frozen soon after being picked.

 

I’ve had both and prefer the mostly unprocessed version. I say “mostly” unprocessed because I used a container of French’s Crispy Fried Onions. You can make your own, but why bother?  These are delicious, right out of the can.

Both the classic and fresher version of this recipe are delicious too.  And why wouldn’t they be? Anything — even a green vegetable — tastes good if you douse it in a rich mushroom sauce topped with fried onions.

 

Green bean casserole on a plate with turkey and the fixings
Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole get together at least once a year, just like old friends.

 

So kick back and get your comfort food on while exploring the ins and outs of this American classic. Then dive in to either recipe below to create more memories for your friends and family.

 

Chopped mushrooms on a cutting board
If you’re making the healthier versions, first you start with fresh mushrooms. I used a combination of button and shiitake mushrooms.

 

 

Milk being poured on fried mushrooms
Once the mushrooms are finished frying, add milk and sour cream.

 

 

Green beans and fried onions on top of mushroom sauce in a frying pan
Once the mushroom sauce is thickened you add some of the green beans and some of the crispy fried onions. Then, stir.

(Thanks for reading this far. To show our appreciation we’re offering this free eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy the Holidays,”  along with a free subscription to the Rootsliving newsletter.)

 

The Best (and healthier) Green Bean Casserole

October 18, 2018
: 8-10
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • Unsalted butter, 4 tablespoons
  • Mushrooms, chopped, about 12 ounces (I used button and shiitake)
  • Garlic, minced, 2 cloves
  • All-purpose flour, 1/4 cup
  • Whole milk, 1 1/2 cups
  • Sour Cream, 8 oz
  • Chicken broth, 1 cup
  • Soy sauce, 1 teaspoon
  • Freshly ground black pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg, 1/8th teaspoon (be careful, nutmeg is very strong)
  • French's Fried Onions, 6 oz
  • Frozen green beans, thawed and drained, 1 1/2 pounds.
  • Panko bread crumbs, about 1/2 cup
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 325°F
  • Step 2 Fry mushrooms in butter in a large pan with high sides. Cook until the mushrooms shrink to about half their size, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Step 3 Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms and stir until the flour is wet (about 2 minutes). Then add the milk, sour cream and chicken broth. Stir and add the soy sauce, pepper and nutmeg.
  • Step 4 Bring everything to a simmer. Stir occasionally until the mushroom sauce is thick. This should take about 5 minutes.
  • Step 5 Add a handful of the green beans and a handful of the crispy fried onions and stir.
  • Step 6 Remove from heat. Add the remaining green beans and about half of the crispy fried onions. Stir in the panko bread crumbs until combined well.
  • Step 7 Pour the mixture into a baking dish and even off the top. Then sprinkle the remaining crispy fried onions on top.
  • Step 8 Bake until golden brown and bubbling (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

 

Classic Green Bean Casserole

October 18, 2018
: 8
: 45 min
: Easy

This recipe is directly from the Campbell Soup Company. Campbell Test Kitchen Manager Dorcas Reilly invented it in 1955, helping Campbell sell lots of soup. She passed away in October, 2018.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup or Campbell's® Condensed 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked cut green beans
  • 1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions
Directions
  • Step 1 Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
  • Step 2 Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the bean mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining onions.
  • Step 3 Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

 

Short Ribs Provencale

Short Ribs Provencale

(Above: There is a variety of complex flavors in this dish.)

Sometimes you find an amazing recipe: one that outdoes all others for the same dish. This is that recipe for short ribs.

The recipe is time consuming but it’s well worth the wait. I found it on Epicurious. Cookbook author Rick Rodgers said the editors of Bon Appétit magazine asked him to create the ultimate version of braised short ribs and this is what he came up with, based on elements of various short rib dishes he enjoyed at several restaurants. He did this some 15 years ago in 2003, and having made this recently I can say it stands the test of time.

 

A blue dutch oven
You could this dish in a dutch oven for 2 1/2 hours.

 

I took it a step further by using short ribs I got at a local Massachusetts farm. I also had a pound of bacon and a chicken sausage I needed to cook, so I cooked them in the dutch oven before I cooked the short ribs. Before adding the ribs, I took out all of the oil left from the bacon and sausage except for about two tablespoons. I don’t think cooking bacon and sausage is necessary but I do believe it added even more depth to the wonderful flavors found in this dish.

I didn’t have any black olives so I used what I had on hand: olives stuffed with blue cheese. I also served the short ribs over mashed potatoes and covered it all in a blanket of the delicious sauce. Here’s the recipe. Bon appetite!

Short Ribs Provencale (From Rick Rodgers)

May 2, 2016
: Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 pounds individual short ribs (not cross-cut flanken)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hearty red wine, such as Zinfandel or Shiraz
  • 1 3/4 cups beef stock, preferably homemade, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 ounces baby-cut carrots
  • 1/2 cup Mediterranean black olives, such as Niçoise, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Step 2 Heat the oil in a large (at least 6-quart) Dutch oven or flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with the salt and pepper. In batches, without crowding, add the short ribs to the pot and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a platter.
  • Step 3 Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Add the onion, chopped carrot, and celery to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, herbes de Provence, and flour and stir until the garlic gives off its aroma, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the broth, tomatoes, and bay leaf. Return the short ribs, and any juices, to the pot. Add cold water as needed to barely reach the top of the ribs and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Step 4 Cover tightly, transfer to the oven, and bake, stirring occasionally to change the position of the ribs, until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender, about 2 1/2 hours. During the last 15 minutes, add the baby carrots.
  • Step 5 Transfer the short ribs to a deep serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, and discard the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is reduced to a sauce consistency, about 10 minutes (the exact time depends on the size of the pot). Add the olives and cook to heat them through, about 3 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  • Step 6 Spoon the sauce with the carrots over the ribs, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve hot, preferably over mashed potatoes.

 

Coq Au Vin Blanc

Coq Au Vin Blanc

(Above: The sauce, with hints of brandy, white wine, and herbs blends well with the savory flavor of hot mashed potatoes.)

Coq au vin is traditionally made with red wine but I wasn’t in the mood for such a deep strong flavor. So I decided to make it using white wine and the results were perfect.

A few nights ago, I made a traditional beef bourguignon and followed that recipe, substituting bone-in chicken breasts and thighs for beef and white wine for red. I also used chicken stock, instead of beef.

The result was a light orange-colored sauce that had hints of brandy, white wine and gentle herbs. It went well with mashed potatoes.

Coq Au Vin Blanc

January 16, 2015
: Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms, stems removed and cut into quarters (I used button mushrooms and portobello
  • oyster mushrooms would be nice too.)
  • 5 lbs (roughly), bone-in chicken breasts and thighs, cut up into large 2-inch chunks.
  • 1 cup chicken broth, divided
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. whole pearl onions, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 3 cups chardonnay (or white burgundy)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Bouquet garni, 1
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat a 5 qt. cocotte over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate.
  • Step 2 Add the mushrooms to the cocotte and cook until golden and just tender, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to the plate with the bacon.
  • Step 3 Season the chicken generously with the salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, warm the cocotte. Working in 3 batches, brown the chicken on all sides until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • Step 4 After the last batch of chicken is browned, deglaze the cocotte with 1/2 cup chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Return all the chicken, bacon, and mushrooms to the cocotte. Add the flour, stir to coat evenly, and cook for 1 minute.
  • Step 5 Add the carrots, pearl onions, garlic, and tomato paste to the cocotte. Add the brandy and simmer for 30 seconds. Add the wine, remaining chicken broth, and bouquet garni to the cocotte and increase the heat to medium-high, bringing the liquid to a boil.
  • Step 6 Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Check the stew and give it a stir. Continue cooking the stew, covered, until the chicken is fork-tender, about 30 minutes more. Taste the liquid and season with salt and pepper, if desired, and discard the bouquet garni.
  • Step 7 Spoon the coq au vin into a shallow bowl. Serve with potatoes and garnish with parsley.

 

Pub Kettle Chips

Pub Kettle Chips

(Above: These chips would go great with watching a football game or just watching the snow fall.)

This was an appetizer eureka!

It isn’t often that I strike gold while dining out but I did on a recent visit to Providence, Rhode Island. By striking gold, I mean tasting something so incredibly delicious and yet so simple to cook it makes you think “Why didn’t I think of that?” This happened on a visit to Union Station Brewery in downtown Providence. The dish? Pub Kettle Chips.

For a mere $7.99 you get a large platter of homemade kettle potato chips with melted cheddar cheese, bacon and sour cream. Mmmm! Goes well with beer (but then again, what doesn’t?)

I recreated them at home by doing the following:

Pub Kettle Chips (From Union Station Brewery in Providence, RI)

December 17, 2013
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • Potato Chips (Use kettle chips, such as Utz Mystic Gourmet Dark Russet Potato Chips.)
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Sour Cream
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread a layer of potato chips on a cookie sheet.
  • Step 2 Sprinkle with extra-sharp cheddar cheese and bake in 350 degree oven until cheese melts and chips are hot.
  • Step 3 Cook bacon and crumble it or cut it into small pieces and then sprinkle on top of chips.
  • Step 4 Sprinkle with chopped scallions. And put a couple of large dollops of sour cream on top.

 

Stracciatella Soup

Stracciatella Soup

(Above: This soup is great all year, but much appreciated on a snowy day.)

This is soup season. And with more than two feet of snow dropping in the Boston area in less than 12 hours, we’re in the thick of it.

What better soup is there to help weather the storm than stracciatella, sometimes referred to as Roman Egg Drop soup? My mother used to make a version of this.

Here’s a quick recipe for Spinach Stracciatella Soup (Serve with grated parmesan cheese on the side.):

STRACCIATELLA SOUP

February 9, 2013
: Medium

To make homemade chicken soup, I usually buy a roasting chicken and cook it for dinner one night and then after a day or so (when most of the meat has been picked off clean), I use it to make the chicken broth.

By:

Ingredients
  • Chicken broth (About 8-10 cups. Use your favorite. Homemade is easy and economical. See recipe below.)
  • Pasta for the soup (I like cheese or meat tortellini for this soup, but you can use any short pasta such as bow ties or fusilli.)
  • Chopped fresh spinach or a 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
  • Eggs (2 large, beaten)
  • Parmesan cheese (About one cup, grated. Please, use the imported. Or at least freshly grated Romano or Pecorino. The stuff you buy in a jar in the supermarket isn’t cheese. It’s more like plastic.)
Directions
  • Step 1 To make homemade chicken soup: Drop the carcass into a large soup pot. If it’s a tall pot, cover it with about four inches of water. If it’s a wide pot, cover it with about 2 inches of water. Add a carrot, a celery stick, maybe an onion, some salt and pepper. Boil it for an hour or more. Take out the carcass and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large plastic container. Put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning skim off the fat. You can now use the broth as you see fit.
  • Step 2 Bring the broth to a slow boil. Drop in the tortellini (or short pasta of your choice) and cook until nearly done. Then drop in the frozen spinach and about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
  • Step 3 Cook until spinach and tortellini are done and the broth is just simmering.
  • Step 4 Stir soup and slowly pour in the beaten egg in a continuous stream. Continue stirring until the egg is cooked.
  • Step 5 Add salt and pepper as needed.

Mexicali Chicken

Mexicali Chicken

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You won’t find many recipes on Rootsliving that use processed food. But with this we’re making an exception because this one is tasty, easy to make, and has been pleasing crowds for decades.

I like to think of it as pseudo Mexican chicken parm. It is tender, white chicken meat, sprinkled with taco seasoning, in a salsa sauce and smothered in melted cheese.

There are basically only four steps to follow:

  1. Make some rice
  2. Saute some chicken
  3. Heat up some refried beans
  4. Assemble and bake

This is quick, weeknight comfort food, perfect for when you’re too busy to prepare a more authentic meal. And you’ll get no complaints from children or adults.

 

Mexicali Chicken

February 4, 2013
: 4-6
: 1 hr 15 min
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • Boneless chicken breasts or tenders (2 pounds, cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • Rice Pilaf (1 box, Near East)
  • Refried beans (1 can)
  • Taco Seasoning (1 packet)
  • Monterey Jack Cheese (8 oz, shredded)
  • Onions (1 small or medium, chopped)
  • Water (about 3/4 cup)
  • Salsa: (About 1/2 cup)
  • Olive oil (1-2 tablespoons)
Directions
  • Step 1 Make the rice pilaf according to package directions.
  • Step 2 Saute onion in olive oil and cook until translucent. Add chicken and brown on both sides.
  • Step 3 Sprinkle taco seasoning and salsa over chicken. Add water. Stir and cook until some of the water evaporates and chicken is done or just about done. Do not overcook.
  • Step 4 Heat up the refried beans in a small pot.
  • Step 5 Spread rice evenly in the bottom of a baking dish. Spread a line of the refried beans down the middle. Put cooked chicken on both sides of the refried bean line.
  • Step 6 Sprinkle cheese all over. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes.

 

Beef Bourguignon II: An Easier Recipe

Beef Bourguignon II: An Easier Recipe

Here’s a quicker and easier recipe than Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon.

With temperatures in the 40s yesterday I was looking to make something in my dutch oven. So I looked on the Staub website and found this recipe. It’s time consuming (needs two hours in the oven) but pretty simple to make and dirties only one pan: your dutch oven.

Once you crisp the bacon, brown the beef, and saute the mushrooms, you throw everything back into the dutch oven and wait 2 hours for it to be done. I don’t have the steamer insert so I didn’t make the potatoes as described in this recipe on the Staub website. Instead I opted for mashed potatoes and some crusty bread.

You could also serve it with torta d’patata, according to this meal plan.

Beef Bourguignon II: An Easier Recipe

November 9, 2012
: 2 hr 40 min
: Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms, stems removed and cut into quarters
  • 2 1/2 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup beef broth, divided
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. whole pearl onions, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 3 cups red Burgundy wine or Pinot Noir
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat a 5 qt. cocotte over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate.
  • Step 2 Add the mushrooms to the cocotte and cook until golden and just tender, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to the plate with the bacon.
  • Step 3 Season the beef generously with the salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, warm the cocotte. Working in 3 batches, brown the beef on all sides until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Transfer the beef to a plate.
  • Step 4 After the last batch of beef is browned, deglaze the cocotte with 1/2 cup beef broth, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Return all the beef, bacon, and mushrooms to the cocotte. Add the flour, stir to coat evenly, and cook for 1 minute.
  • Step 5 Add the carrots, pearl onions, garlic, and tomato paste to the cocotte. Add the brandy and simmer for 30 seconds. Add the wine, remaining beef broth, and bouquet garni to the cocotte and increase the heat to medium-high, bringing the liquid to a boil.
  • Step 6 Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Check the stew and give it a stir. Continue cooking the stew, covered, until the beef is fork-tender, 30 to 45 minutes more. Taste the liquid and season with salt and pepper, if desired, and discard the bouquet garni.
  • Step 7 Spoon the beef bourguignon into a shallow bowl. Serve with potatoes and garnish with parsley.

 

Nan’s Mashed Potatoes

A woman passes a plate at a dinner table
That’s Nan, passing a plate of artichokes at Easter Dinner in the Rootsliving dining room.

My brother’s mother-in-law, Theresa McMullen (aka: Nan, short for Nana), is a great cook and one of her specialties is this mashed potato recipe.

 

It’s good for special occasions, like Thanksgiving, and is guaranteed to have your guests asking for more. If they also ask for the recipe, tell them they can find it here on Rootsliving.

 

The recipe is a fairly easy one to follow. A simplified explanation is you make mashed potatoes and then add sour cream and cream cheese to them and bake them until they’re bubbly and hot.

 

A baking dish with mashed potatoes
I may have gone a little heavy on the paprika this time but that’s OK. It’s not a spice that easily overpowers anything.

 

Choosing Your Potatoes

The best potatoes to use are high in starch content, which produces fluffy, and not runny, mashed potatoes. This time I used a combination of yellow Yukons and some Russets (white).  The Yukons have a little less starch but add a buttery flavor.

To peel the potatoes, I recommend using a small paring knife or a steak knife with a good handle. Try to get as close to the skin as you can but don’t worry too much about it. If you end up cutting off and throwing out some of the potato, who cares? You’ll get better at this the more you do it.

 

A bay leaf floats in water over potatoes
Just one bay leaf adds enough flavor to the potatoes as they boil.

 

When boiling the potatoes, I always add a bay leaf and sometime even a peeled onion cut into halves or quarters. And I also boil them in a large pasta pot with a colander insert. This makes it easy to get the potatoes out of the boiling water without any mishaps.

 

Potatoes drain in a colander
A pasta pot with a colander insert comes in handy.

 

The most important tip I can give you is to mash the potatoes by using a ricer. A ricer is a metal contraption that you put a handful of potatoes in at a time and then squeeze it shut so that the potatoes are forced to push through small drain holes and into a bowl.

 

Potatoes in a ricer
I can’t live without my ricer.

 

My mother always used a ricer when making mashed potatoes, so I never gave this a second thought. This prevents lumps. And no one likes lumpy mashed potatoes.

 

Close up of hot mashed potatoes
Cook at 350 until the potatoes are hot and bubbling. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

 

So how many calories are in this dish? Probably a million, but hey, we’re not eating them every week. These are good a few times a year, on special occasions.

 

Mashed potatoes on a plate
These creamy potatoes will have your guests asking for the recipe and more.

 

Nan's (decadent) Mashed Potatoes

April 3, 2010
: Easy

This takes a little time but it's easy to make. You basically make mashed potatoes and then add a few ingredients to them before baking.

By:

Ingredients
  • Potatoes (8 pounds)
  • Bay Leaf (1)
  • Garlic powder (just a dash)
  • Cream Cheese (1 8 oz package)
  • Sour Cream (1 16 oz container)
  • Salt, pepper (to taste)
  • Paprika (enough to sprinkle on top)
  • Butter (enough to grease a baking dish and a few slabs to put on top)
Directions
  • Step 1 Boil potatoes with bay leaf until tender. And then mash. I always mash potatoes through a ricer, which prevents lumps.
  • Step 2 Add salt and pepper and garlic powder.
  • Step 3 Beat in the cream cheese and sour cream. I use a hand-held electric beater until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.
  • Step 4 Put potatoes in baking dish that has been greased with butter. Smooth top and dab with butter and sprinkle with paprika.
  • Step 5 Bake in a 350-degree oven until hot and bubbly.

 

Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes

Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes

(Above: This is the bold flavor of gingerbread in one of the lightest pancakes you’ll ever eat.)

Get a free Rootsliving eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy
the Holidays.”  

A friend on a skiing trip in Vermont raved about some gingerbread pancakes she ate at a restaurant up there. I emailed the place to see if they’d be willing to share the recipe with the RootsLiving community. But alas, they wouldn’t give it up.

Closeup of pancakes on a plate

 

 

So I did some searching and found this recipe in a cookbook I was given for Christmas this year: “Comfort Food: Warm and Homey, Rich and Hearty.” I made them for dinner tonight and found them to be very light, fluffy and brimming with gingerbread flavor.

Gingerbread Pancakes

January 12, 2010
: 25 min
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • All Purpose Flour (1 1/4 cups)
  • Baking Powder (1 tsp.)
  • Baking Soda (1/2 tsp.)
  • Kosher Salt (1/2 tsp.) (I’m sure if you don’t have Kosher, regular salt will do.)
  • Ground Cinnamon (1 tsp.)
  • Ground Ginger (3/4 tsp.)
  • Ground Cloves (1/8 tsp.)
  • Large Eggs (2)
  • Dark Brown Sugar (1/4 cup, firmly packed) (regular sugar works fine too)
  • Unsulfured Light Molasses (2 tbsp.) (optional)
  • Unsalted Butter (2 tbsp, melted, plus more for serving)
  • Brewed Coffee (1/4 cup, at room temperature)
  • Canola Oil (enough for cooking)
  • Pure Maple Syrup (For serving. I didn’t have pure maple syrup so I used Aunt Jemima Original. I know, sacrilege!)
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  • Step 2 In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
  • Step 3 In another bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, the 2 tablespoons of melted butter, coffee, and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Step 4 Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Don’t overwork it.
  • Step 5 Get a frying pan hot enough so that water flicked on it will sizzle and skitter across the surface.
  • Step 6 Brush a light coating of the oil over the pan and then pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto it. Cook pancake until bubbles form on the surface (about 2 min.). And then flip it over until the bottom is golden brown (about 30 seconds to 1 min.)
  • Step 7 Transfer pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
  • Step 8 Serve hot and with plenty of butter and syrup.
The Best Ribollita Soup Recipe

The Best Ribollita Soup Recipe

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” 

 

This is one of my most requested recipes. Also known as “Tuscan Bean Soup,” it is a real crowd pleaser. I’ve tripled this recipe and fed nearly 50 people with it at our annual Christmas open house party.

 

Bowls filled with vegetables
There’s a lot of chopping required to make this soup. Using a food processor makes it easier and quicker.

 

It’s an Italian vegetable soup, with a jolt of meat. I got this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, but incorporated a few short cuts so you can make this in about 1 1/2 hours. There are other ribollita soup recipes out there, but trust me, this is the best. I’ve been told this by other Italians.

 

Pancetta in a bowl.
Don’t try to make this soup without pancetta. It’s what gives this soup a deep, smoky, flavor.

 

If you’re not familiar with pancetta, think of it as Italian bacon. You can find it in the deli section at most supermarkets and it comes either as a whole piece, sliced, or cubed. I bought mine as a whole piece and then chopped it up into small cubes. It is made from pork and then cured, but it needs to be cooked before you can eat it.

 

A bowl of Ribollita soup.
Colorful, hearty, delicious and nutritious describes Ribollita soup. Make sure you use sourdough bread too. It’s an essential ingredient.

 

The taste is sweet and a little sour with a punch of heat from the crushed red pepper flakes. It’s a great, hearty soup on a cold winter night.

(Thanks for reading this far. To show our appreciation we’re offering this free eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy the Holidays,”  along with free subscription to the Rootsliving newsletter.)

 

Ribollita Soup

December 6, 2009
: About 12
: 1 hr
: 1 hr 30 min
: Easy-Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 large can of cannellini beans (about 19 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 pound diced pancetta
  • 2 cups chopped onions (about 2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 3 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I always use Kosher as it’s the most flavorful.)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz.) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably the imported Parmesan Reggiano), for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot.
  • Step 2 Add the pancetta and onions. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. (Stir occasionally)
  • Step 3 Add the carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. (Stir occasionally)
  • Step 4 Add the tomatoes with the puree, the kale, and basil. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (Stir occasionally)
  • Step 5 Rinse the cannellini beans under cold water. Puree half of them in a food processor with about 1/2 cup of water.
  • Step 6 Add pureed beans to the soup. And then add the remaining half of the whole beans. And stir.
  • Step 7 Add the eight cups of chicken stock.
  • Step 8 Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Step 9 Add the bread cubes to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes.
  • Step 10 Serve hot in large bowls. Sprinkle a little freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. And then drizzle a little olive oil over it.